From Monday 21 June, train passengers in England will be able to buy a new kind of ticket as part of an overhaul of rail travel.
The Flexi Season tickets are the first step in major reforms of the railways announced last month in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.
This is everything you need to know.
What is the Flexi Season ticket?
The Flexi Season ticket is a new style of rail ticket, which provides customers with eight days of travel in 28 days any time between two named stations.
The eight days of travel does not need to be specified in advance, meaning that part-time commuters will be given more freedom to travel when they need to.
The Flexi Season ticket will offer a minimum of 20 per cent discount on an equivalent Monthly Season ticket.
In the announcement from the Government, it states: “To encourage more passengers to travel by rail, for the rest of this year (until 31 December 2021), train companies will also offer a book with confidence guarantee, allowing people to rebook journeys or receive rail vouchers without an admin fee if their plans change.”
These tickets are available as either a smartcard or barcode ticket, and are only sold at adult prices.
You need to activate your pass on the day of travel by “touching in” on a yellow reader on a gate, a platform validator, a ticket machine or by using the National Rail Smartcard app.
Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount and 16-17 Saver Card holders will be able to get a 50 per cent discount off their Flexi Season ticket, but no other Railcard or group discounts apply.
The new tickets went on sale on Monday 21 June, and will be able to be used from Monday 28 June.
‘Greater freedom and choice’
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our railways work best when they are reliable, rapid and affordable.
“As we kickstart the biggest reforms to our railways in a generation, flexible season tickets are the first step. They give us greater freedom and choice about how we travel, simpler ticketing and a fairer fare.
“With a season ticket calculator to see which option works best for you, and a book with confidence guarantee to make journeys stress-free, the future of fares is flexible.”
Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group, also said: “We’ve worked with government to introduce the new Flexi Season ticket, which goes on sale today, to give commuters the freedom and flexibility to divide their time between home and the office.
“The rail industry is helping people travel and book with confidence by providing better journey information, boosting cleaning and helping them change a booked journey fee-free should their circumstances change.”
How is the Flexi Season ticket different from a Season ticket?
National Rail explains: “A Flexi Season ticket is a new, more flexible, kind of season ticket that allows eight days of travel in 28 days with unlimited travel, from the time you activate your day pass until 04:29 the next morning, between two stations each day that it is used.
“It’s great for commuters travelling during peak times two to three days a week, Monday to Friday, as it offers an alternative to a traditional five-day a week season ticket.”
Season tickets are available in First Class and Child options, while the Flexi Season ticket is only available in Standard class and adult prices.
You also cannot buy specifically off-peak Flexi Season tickets, but they can be used for travel during peak and off-peak periods.
How often should I be travelling to save money?
The Government says that the introduction of the new tickets could stand to save commuters “hundreds of pounds”.
Government analysis shows what two day a week commuters buying multiple new flexible season tickets could save in a year, compared to the cost of daily tickets:
- Over £260 from Woking to London
- Over £120 from York to Leeds
- Over £60 from Southampton Central to Winchester
- Over £170 from Stafford to Birmingham
- Over £230 from Liverpool to Manchester
Three day a week commuters could save:
- Over £230 from St Albans City to London
- Over £110 from Bromsgrove to Birmingham
- Over £90 from Weston-Super-Mare to Bristol Temple Meads
- Over £350 from Chelmsford to Stratford
If you’re only travelling once a week, you’ll be better off simply buying daily tickets.
If you’re travelling more like four or five times a week, then an annual season ticket is likely to be your cheapest option.
An updated season ticket calculator from National Rail will help you figure out which ticket is the best option for you based on your travel needs.